If it doesn't count for Christ, it doesn't count.

Monday, September 08, 2014

The Good Thing About The Bad Thing Is . . .

"Everything happens for a reason." We say that and shrug because we don't know what the reason is, but we're O.K. because there IS a reason . . . isn't there? It's like we're trying to pump ourselves up and we're hoping that a Heaven sent voice will join the conversation with, "And the reason is . . . "

But, it doesn't happen that way. So we go on our way, walking in what we call faith, always wondering, but too afraid to ask out loud, "So, Lord, what's the deal here?" And if we are afraid to approach Him in that way we ask, "What did I do to deserve this?" (If I find myself thinking along these lines I can come up with an impressive list pretty fast.)

Sometimes I think we forget that, as Christians, we don't get what we deserve. Praise God for that! So, if you do, stop wishing or rejoicing about "getting what you deserve" where other people are concerned. Karma is not a Godly goal. Grace is. And Jesus paid a heavy price to extend His grace to us. We cannot be found thanking Jesus for the grace and forgiveness He has given us while hoping at the same time that He doesn't give it to someone else. 

Your trials have nothing to do with getting what you deserve. They have everything to do with grace. And, yes, there is a reason.

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."  James1: 2-4

Whatever you are going through, it sometimes is because something needs to be pruned away. And that can be a painful process. But, it always is because there is something missing in your life, and your perseverance through your trial, great or small, will bring that "thing" into your life. Always.

So, even that person who wronged you or hurt you so much that your tears flow or your blood boils at the mention of their name was an instrument of God's grace in your life. I'm not saying that you should thank them. After all, he or she was probably out of God's will when they did what they did. I wouldn't thank them for their sin. Their part was in the problem or the pain. The grace and the blessing came from God. (Now it's up to you to do something that may seem impossible. Forgive. God will provide you with the grace to that.)

There are those times when our trial is dealing with the trial of someone else. It could be any number of things. It might even be a terrible illness or the loss of a loved one. "So, they had to go through that so God could give me this? . . . I don't even know what the "this" is!" When you go there, remember that it's not all about you and you alone.

"We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose."  Romans 8:28

It is beyond our understanding how God accomplishes these things, but He does. He always does. Your situation, no matter how hard or how bad it may be, is under His power.

“For as heaven is higher than earth, 
so My ways are higher than your ways,  
and My thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:9

Our sight is limited to how we perceive that one thing before us, and we are prone to think only of ourselves in those situations, but God is often using "that one thing" to work His will and His plan for more people and more reasons than we could ever begin to see or understand. 
"Behold, these are but the outskirts of his ways, 
and how small a whisper do we hear of him!
But the thunder of his power who can understand?”
Job 26:14

"I cry out to God Most High,
to God who fulfills his purpose for me." Psalm 57:2

You know that God has a specific plan for you a purpose. As much as you may hope for that plan to be fulfilled, He wants it even more, and He is working in your life to do just that.

Is there a purpose for your difficult times? Yes! And that purpose is that you persevere so that you will be made mature, complete, and that you will lack nothing! I believe God says "let perseverance finish its work" so that we will do just that. Our tendency is to cry out to God to get us out of whatever it is that has caused us the problem or the pain. We just want it to be over and done and behind us. And I think that God sometimes brings it all to an end when we fail to persevere. We may sigh with relief and praise God because our trial has ended, but we've missed out on something great, something immensely more beneficial and life-changing than the escape we just made from our trouble. And, we have to go through that or something similar all over again because God has promised that He will leave us "mature and complete, not lacking in anything." We might want to skip it, but God is faithful and will work to bring His plan for us to its fullness. "God who fulfills His purpose for me" is not going to leave out any of the pieces. Persevere all the way through. Hold onto God. Don't stop it before it's finished. "Let perseverance finish its work" in you! Don't pray for it to merely end, pray for it to work! There is great gain for you and glory for God in persevering.

It may seem that time, effort, and resources have gone to waste but under God nothing is wasted.

Why do bad things happen to good people? So good things can happen to God's people. And God is glorified! Therein lies your great joy.


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